sales calls

Cold Calling Tips for Success

Before you pick up the phone to dial, use our cold calling tips to make sure that your calls generate leads and closed sales.  Cold calling isn’t something that most people look forward to doing.  It is, however, an important step for prospecting and keeping your pipeline full.  Make sure that each call is as effective as possible so that you can make more money and spend less time on the phone.

Cold Calling Tips Before You Call

  • Get Organized.  It is important to have everything you need in place before you start dialing.  Getting into the groove is critical for making the most calls and increasing your close ratio.  This is nearly impossible to do if you have to stop calling every two or three calls to dig for paperwork or information.  Have everything you need, including your tracking tools, at your fingertips before you pick up the phone.
  • Research.  You should know who you are calling ahead of time.  This may be as simple as categorizing your leads so you are calling consumers in similar situations or businesses in a similar industry.  By grouping your leads it will make research and calling easier.
  • Identify Help.  Find out who on your team can help you in a pinch.  For example, if you are excellent at opening the door but find it difficult to close, see if a closer is available to help you.  Understanding your strengths, and leveraging the rest of your team, will help you to close more sales.

Cold Calling Tips During the Call

  • Have a Purpose.  Identify why you are calling and what the benefit is to the listener.  Be able to clearly articulate that immediately upon making the call.  Listen into other colleagues for ideas if you need to. You have a very short period of time to make an impression so convey the purpose and benefit of your call right away.
  • Make a Connection.  Find common ground with your prospects and make a personal connection.  This can be as simple as being from the same area, watching the game later that day, or talking about family.  Even brief discussions on commonalities will make a prospect feel more at ease.
  • Ask Questions.  Don’t make the mistake of giving too much information before asking your prospect questions.  The more you learn about them, the easier it will be to close the sale because you will understand their needs and motivations.  By talking too much you may completely miss the mark.
  • Smile.  While prospects may not be able to see you over the phone.  They can sense when you are smiling and happy based on your tone and inflection.  The more you smile, the more confident you will appear which will create a sense of trust and confidence in you and what you are selling.
  • Referrals.  You should use and ask for referrals.  When calling a prospect you are more likely to get a warm reception, or a call back, when you can reference a person or a company that they are familiar with.  Referrals are powerful tools for opening doors.  When you are speaking with a prospect that isn’t interested at this time, you can ask them to refer you to someone that may be and use this strategy to grow your database.

You can also increase your chance of success by starting with a high quality lead list.  By narrowing down your prospects, you can focus on those with a higher likelihood of needing your products or services.  Cold calling requires consistency so after you acquire your list complete your research and block of time for calls every day.  The more calls you make the better you will get and the more deals you will close.

How to Perfect Your Pitch

Perfecting the pitch is essential for entrepreneurs, business owners, and advisers looking for investors.

Too often people make the mistake of assuming that because they are passionate about something, an investor will be as well. They key to remember is that it is your job to get your potential investors excited and help them become interested and engaged in your industry and what you have to offer.

Recently I had someone send me details of a licensing deal they were proposing.  While I was aware of their basic business concept, I did not know specific details.  I asked for more information and they sent me some text pasted into an email.  Whatever deal they could have had was blown.  You may only get one shot to impress someone, so make it count.

Before you pick up the phone or walk into a meeting here are ways to make sure your sales pitch is effective:

  • State the benefit right away.  What is the benefit to the investor?  Make sure you clearly articulate this early on.  This is not how it will help you, but how it will help them.  For example, “You will get 30% of the company, a board set, and we anticipate distributions within the first 24 months.”  If you don’t state this up front they will spend your entire presentation wondering what is in it for them.
  • Financials.  Investors invest because they want to make money.  Never scrimp on the financial portion of your presentation.  Know your budget, cash flow, and projections inside and out.  If this is a start up have knowledge of your competitors revenue and profit for a base line.
  • How will the funds be spent? Investors want to know how you will be spending their money.  Make sure that capital is going into things that will directly grow the business like inventory, equipment, marketing and expanding the sales team.
  • Market Potential.  What are the possibilities for your industry and what is its total yearly revenue?  Excite investors with the opportunity to capture some of this market share. This is where your salesmanship should shine.
  • You’re Unique.  What is different about your product and or service?  Tell investors about the problem you have identified in the market and how you are going to solve it.  For example, “Our product can save lives by treating heart attack victims faster.”  Add specifics about how many people you can help and what your solution means to them.
  • Leadership.  Build a strong team of advisers.  Identify the various aspects of your business and find either an employee or adviser to fill that role.  For example every business should have a CFO and a business attorney.  If you can’t afford one on staff, retain people that can offer this service in an advisory capacity.  Investors that view an organization as thin on leadership are likely to invest elsewhere.
  • Investor Impact. Explain how their investment will help your company grow.  Also include any additional value that they bring to the company.  If they know people in the industry they could help the company grow by arranging strategic partnerships etc.

Whether calling investors, meeting face to face, or presenting in a forum lead with a perfect pitch.  This is your opportunity to capture their interest, and quickly.  You won’t get a second, more personal meeting, if you don’t excite the investor on the other end of the phone.  Know your information backwards and forwards and never forget the cardinal rule – state how they will benefit and make money early on.